HUBER HEIGHTS, Ohio (WDTN) – If you had COVID-19, studies suggest getting vaccinated could give you extra protection against the virus, or “super immunity.”

As delta variant cases continue to spread, health officials say getting vaccinated is a key step to protecting yourself, even if you have already have COVID-19.

“To help stop the spread, we’re recommending everybody who is eligible and able to get vaccinated get vaccinated against COVD-19,” PHDMC Public Information Supervisor Dan Suffoletto said. “That includes if you previously had COVID-19. Right now, it looks like the immunity will last for a little bit, but by getting that vaccination, it will increase it for a much longer period of time.”

Health experts said studies done on COVID-19 immunity have found that if a person both had COVID-19 and gets the vaccine, they have stronger immunity to breakthrough cases.

“People who had a previous infection, and then got vaccinated, actually had the highest level of protection,” Miami Valley Hospital Chief Medical Officer Dr. Roberto Colon said.

Colon said because the delta variant is so contagious, it makes getting the vaccine after a COVID-19 infection more important.

“Being able to reduce the number of susceptible people is going to help reduce the spread,” Colon said. “It’s also going to help lower the chances that we’re going to be seeing other emerging variants down the pipeline.”

However, for people who have neither had COVID nor been vaccinated, Colon said there are more risks to obtaining natural immunity than getting vaccinated.

“There are, as we know, hundreds of thousands of people who have died from COVID-19 infections, and many millions more who have suffered more lingering symptoms when a vaccine may have offered a similar level of protection,” Colon said.

Health officials said another benefit of this super immunity is that it lowers your risk of catching a breakthrough case when out at large gatherings or events.